During pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many changes in a small period of time. A large percentage of women will experience lower back pain during their pregnancy. However lower back pain doesn’t need to be part of pregnancy! Fortunately there are many treatments available to help such as acupuncture.
An observational study on acupuncture treatment on pregnancy women with lumbopelvic pain (this includes lower back and hip pain) reported that 89% of women in the study reported a pain decrease after just 3 treatments. Patients were considered low risk and mostly under the care of midwives in New Zealand. Most received cupping along with acupuncture as part of their treatments.
At Renew Natural Health Acupuncture in Palo Alto Alicia Masiulis, MS, LAc uses a combination of orthopedic acupuncture with gentle trigger point needling, acupuncture points away from the area of pain and myofascial release techniques such as cupping and bodywork.
Direct needling on muscles works to reset the muscle spindle by working with your body’s natural ability to relax and contract the muscles. Researchers are still working to determine the exact mechanism for this release but it is thought to have something to do with the release of acetylcholine.
Every muscle has at least one motor point that is defined as the most electrically excitable
part of the muscle. You can actually stimulate muscles with an electric current on the outside of the body to trigger a muscle contraction. This is how the motor points were originally mapped out. Since acupuncture needles are surgical stainless steel they have a slight electrical charge that interacts to reset the muscle spindle. During the needling the patient often feels a twitch and the muscle that has been in spasm or is overly tight releases.
This needling style also helps to ‘wake up’ muscles that have been under active which often causes other muscles to do more of their fair share of work and can create pain. If a muscle has become very weak special strengthening exercises will be needed.
In the New Zealand study a combination of local acupuncture points, distal points, and cupping was used. Practitioners were allowed to customize points according to patients special needs which accurately reflects how acupuncture is applied in real life clinical situations.
See more details on the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29482798/